JUDICIAL APPOINTMENTS - THE INDIAN PERSPECTIVE
Senior Advocate,Madras High Court,India.**Articles 124 and 217 of the Constitution of India deal with the appointment of Supreme Court and High Court Judges respectively. Although the provisions aretheoretically simple and clear, their practical implementation has been highlycontroversial. There has been an unfortunate power struggle on the question of supremacy or primacy in the matter of appointment of such Judges. The members of the Constituent Assembly who drafted the Constitution of India would have scarcelyimagined that these simple provisions would have led to so much of acrimony anddebate.
The history of judicial administration in India can start with the High Courts Act,1860 whereby High Courts were set up in each province and a further appeal from thesecourts was to the Privy Council in England. Section 200 of the Government of IndiaAct, 1935 created the Federal Court at New Delhi. The Federal Court had jurisdiction only in constitutional matters. A further appeal would lie to the PrivyCouncil.After India attained independence, the jurisdiction of the Privy Council wasabolished by the Abolition of the Privy Council Jurisdiction Act, 1949. Allappeals pending before the Privy Council before 10
October 1949 weretransferred to the Federal Court. On Republic day, 26
January 1950, the SupremeCourt of India was formed and is now the highest court of appeal in India. Its jurisdiction today is wider than any known Federal Court or Supreme Court. Atpresent, it has appellate jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters. An appeal canalso be filed directly to the Supreme Court against
under Article 136 although the Supreme Court usually frowns uponpersons bypassing High Court. The only limitation to Article 136 is that itcannot directly deal with an appeal against an order of a Court or Tribunalconstituted under any law related to the armed forces.